Two chance encounters between a theft victim and a suspect last week led to felony charges against two people and the discovery of a methamphetamine lab.
Robert T. Poucher Jr., 48, and Amanda Cotton, 37, both of Leslie, are charged in felony warrants with attempting to manufacture methamphetamine, felony drug possession and stealing a firearm in an incident Tuesday, Nov. 26, authorities said.
Poucher, who has a lengthy criminal record, entered a not guilty plea during a video arraignment Monday. He is being held on a $50,000 cash only bond and is on parole in a prior felony case.
Cotton’s bond was reduced from $50,000 to $25,000 and she is scheduled for arraignment on the charges Dec. 5.
The two are accused of stealing a hunting rifle and a backpack containing hunting supplies shortly after 1:30 p.m. Nov. 26 from the front porch of a home on Highway 185 in the Beaufort area.
The owner told sheriff’s deputies that he heard a knock at the door and when he went to answer it he saw a man throwing items into the back of a pickup truck and drive north on Highway 185 at a high rate of speed. It was then that he noticed his rifle and backpack were missing from his front porch, according to a report.
The next day, the victim called the sheriff’s office and reported that he and his son had been trapping at a lake off of Horton Road and he saw the suspect, later identified as Poucher, at a nearby apartment. Poucher and Cotton were seen leaving in a pickup truck.
Later that day, a deputy was at a pawnshop in Washington and the victim came in looking to buy a gun. While they were there, the two suspects walked in and were identified by the victim, the sheriff’s office reported.
Items they had with them were seized as evidence and later identified as being stolen from the victim, according to the report.
Deputies obtained a search warrant for the suspects’ apartment on Horton Road and when they entered they saw in plain view on a kitchen counter a one-pot meth lab and precursor chemicals and other items used to make meth, along with items reported stolen by the victim, according to the sheriff’s office.
The suspected meth lab and related items were seized by the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit.
The sheriff’s office said Poucher has an extensive criminal history spanning different states involving charges of theft, narcotics violations, and assault on law enforcement.
According to court records, Poucher is on parole on felony convictions in St. Louis County cases where he pleaded guilty to charges of felony drug possession, assaulting a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of an accident, felony DWI and third-degree domestic assault.
He completed a two-year prison sentence in a 2010 Franklin County forgery case, according to court documents.